Only a select few of you reading this post will have the slightest idea what I am talking about. Doesn’t matter; I need to write it down. This morning I pulled the cover off my Street Triple, geared up and hit the road. I had no idea where I was riding to. Since moving to Louisville I have not had any real chance to explore the roads in my new neighborhood yet.
I loaned my GPS to my father-in-law and I didn’t have a map, so I just rode. First South, then West, then North, then East back where I started. To say it was therapeutic is the understatement of the year. On the other hand, it had a very bad effect on my mind.
You see, very few people really know who I am. In fact, I can only think of two individuals who know the “real” me; my mother and my wife. To most people, I’m Jamie the “nice guy,” Jamie the “responsible” guy, Jamie the guy who believes in “doing the right thing.” In fact, that is who I have tried hard to be over my 51 years of living. I really do care about doing the “right thing.” And sometimes I can be a “nice guy,” but sometimes I am not. That middle one though… the “responsible” thing is the one that is really off the mark. Am I responsible? Yes. Is that who I really am though? Afraid not. Let me explain.
Put me on a motorcycle on a cool summer morning and turn me loose and it takes every bit of restraint I can muster to remain responsible. I’m not talking about riding fast, or engaging in a bit of hooliganism, although that does sometimes happen. I’m talking about knowing when to stop. Once I get on the road, I never want to turn around. I never want to go home. I have never been homesick in my life. I immediately begin to think about running away with only the clothes on my back. I dream of telling the world to kiss off and leave me alone; I’ve got miles to ride before I die. I have been called a caged animal begging for freedom by my coworkers. I have been called the “most restless person I ever met,” by my wife. The only freedom I have ever found is on the road. There are thousands of people out there who feel the same way and who have acted on the impulse…selling everything they own except their bike and disappearing for months or years…or forever. That is my dream. It has been my dream since I was a young boy. Don’t believe me? Just ask my mother; she knows it to be true even though I have never said it out loud to her. Her youngest child is a natural born vagabond trapped in a responsible, Corporate American body.
My children are grown and married. The only thing that really keeps me from finally living the way I want to live is my wife. If you knew how strong the pull was, you would know how much I love my wife. I know you think this is all talk, but trust me, it is not. I know myself well. I struggle daily to walk into the job I despise. I’ve been despising my job for 27 years. That is the responsible me. The ‘free” me walks a tightrope, and I could easily fall at any moment. I keep telling myself if I just stick it out another 8 years I can retire and then do what I want. Some days eight years might as well be a lifetime.